A new California state law that just took effect in January prohibits BART police from citing juvenile offenders for jumping the fare gates this despite the fact that BART spends millions of dollars a year to combat fare evasion, and one assumes a large number of fare evaders are juveniles, like the gang of 30 or so who stormed Coliseum Station to commit mass robbery two weeks ago. Now, as BART's spokesperson Jim Allison tells the Chronicle, they're going to have to get creative in how they crack down on juveniles in order not to give them a free pass to ride trains without paying.
The law, SB882, was sponsored by state Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) with the idea of keeping juveniles from racking up criminal records for as minor an offense as fare evasion. BART Police Chief Jeffrey Jennings had to explain to officers in a March briefing that, as of this year, individuals under 18 can not be arrested or cited for jumping the fare gates. But, says Allison, "BART can eject juvenile fare evaders from the system," and they are considering creating a type of "administrative citation" that would allow them to issue tickets without impacting a juvenile's record something that the SFMTA already does.
CBS 5 reports that fare evasion accounts for $25 million in annual losses for BART, and yet despite efforts to combat it and the previous ability to issue tickets to juveniles, BART police don't necessarily write a lot of these tickets. According to the Chronicle, via BART's last available records, for 2015, they only issued 172 fare evasion tickets to juveniles that year, or about three a week.
In related news, a young woman who claimed she was assaulted by a group of teen girls on board a BART train and that her case was not taken seriously BART police, may finally see some justice. As KRON 4 reports, after some publicity came to the case following that mob robbery, police have arrested three out of four of the girls suspected in the assault, and all the arrests happened last week.